Plaster Clth? Good, Bad, Or Ugly?

Discussion in 'Scratchin' & Bashin'' started by Ho Modeler, Sep 11, 2004.

  1. Ho Modeler

    Ho Modeler Member

    I just mustered up the courage to create the first corner mountain for my layout. It is set in the valley of a very large mountain. I decided to look around for products to use. And found a very cheap foam. :eek: It is potters foam but it came in large 3'x3'x3" peices as well as some bricks of it and thinner sheets for less than a dollar each.

    Now i picked up some plaster cloth from the LHS and was planning on using it to cover the the mountin :( ...but as i looked at the thickness of the cloth i began wondering :confused: if it would be thin enough to model the detail that I wanted.

    Has anyone used the plaster cloth? If so is there and tips or tricks?

    Eric :wave: :wave:
  2. cobra

    cobra Member

    After a lot thinking and experimenting , I finally settled on plaster cloth for my mountains . I created a strong basis for it with cardboard strip lattice work . The plaster cloth takes pretty well to the hills and valleys you have created . Make sure the edges overlap and smooth them together with your fingers . I let it all dry and used Sculpt-a-Mold for final details and covering of the gauze .

  3. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    As Neil said, plastecloth is only for the hardshell, it's an easy clean (and more expensive) way to build the hardshell, it replaces plaster / paper towel. But after the hardshell has dried, you need to add either rock castings, or add plaster / sculptamold and carve the rock details you want.
  4. Catt

    Catt Guest

    Use the plastercloth for your mountain but don't buy it at your LHS.You can get it at your local medical supply store or pharmacy in a much larger roll for (most likely) less money.
  5. shaygetz

    shaygetz Active Member

    About half the price as I recall. It is a much neater way to do it and worth the cost on a small layout or around intricate trackwork and finished scenery on larger ones.. As others have pointed out, the detailing is added to the shell base. Except on rolling hills, the shell rarely is the detail coat.
  6. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't know if it is still available at medical supply places or not. Docs don't use it any more. I think they use some kind of fiberglass for casts now.
  7. cobra

    cobra Member

    I had several people tell me about medical suppliy stores , but when I checked that out , they came in 3 or 4 inch widths ....not suitable . I bit the bullet and got mine ( Woodland Scenics ) from my LHS . I had to buy about 8 rolls , and yes they were fairly expensive but the widths of plaster cloth were more suitable to my needs . I don't know where elsr you would look . In my area , there isn't much selection .

  8. Will_annand

    Will_annand Active Member

    I guess I am the old fashioned type. I plan on using POP and used dryer sheets.
    The dryer sheets are 6"x9" and very strong. Plus I like the price. :D
  9. jkristia

    jkristia Member

    I once checked a medical supplier store, and their plastercloth was more expensive than the woodland scenics ones. I usually buy mine at Michael's, it's same price as the woodland scenics, but I usually only use it for small areas. If I have larger areas (haven't done any scenery in more than I year now) then I will go back to plaster and paper towels, simply because of the cost. I if remember correct, a 25lbs bag of plaster is around $8, and you can do a lot of mountains with 25lbs :)
  10. LR&BRR

    LR&BRR Member

  11. Woodie

    Woodie Active Member


    I wouldn't hesitate to guess, that 9 outa 10 modellers would use plaster cloth. (or derivative, such as plaster soaked paper towels. After you've laid it, you will see the cloth "grain" show through. I just mix up some more plaster (colour it a bit with 1/4 teaspoon of earthy coloured paint), then paint (slop) that mix on with a 1" paintbrush. Want it thicker? Just lump it on and "carve" your rocks. Doesn't really matter how you "carve" the rock. The most important part that will bring out your "rocks" is the wash colourings you give it afterwards.
  12. ausien

    ausien Active Member

    I`m with toot here, for my rock`s/mountains I use plaster and kitchen paper towls, I also add milk, and PVA glue to the mix, the milk slows down drying time and the PVA turns the plaster like concreat, I also put on a slurry coat after the shell is dry. then use a hard toothbrush or crunched up alfoil to create the detail.
    Hope this helps.
    Have a good one steve...
  13. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    For the shell, I've used expanded aluminum "gutter screen", the stuff you put over the rain gutters to keep the leaves out, covered with newspaper strips, soaked in water/white glue mix. Several thin coats of plaster are brushed on over the dried paper. I've transported my modules to shows for the last twenty years, and had no problems with the hard shell scenery.
    For my On30 diorama (16" X 48", GO&S scale forum/On30 conspiracy thread ) I tried the WS plaster cloth, over the screen, and liked the results. The plaster cloth sets up harder, and the cloth fiber gives it greater strength.
    Check out the thread to see photos of the scene construction.
  14. A bit of both

    For new areas of the layout, where things are bare except track and roadbed, I use balled up newspaper between the pink foam board mountain shape cut outs and around the pre attached plaister rock casts. I use masking tape to help hold the shape of the newspaper, or anything else that seams to work. After the shape is formed I spray with water lightly and then use plaister soaked 1" strips of newspaper overlaping in all directions to make the basic shape. Plaister of paris will draw the moisture out of almost anything so the newspaper shapes and castings work better dampende. This is very messy so if you don't want it dripped on you better mask it up. For changes to or additons on pre existing areas, the store bought expensive cloth is the way to go. :thumb:

    Nick Weber
    New Orleans

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